Monday, August 5, 2013

How to paint perfect stripes

When we moved into this dream house of ours, I didn't give much thought to the hallways.  I mean, who does?  I daydreamed about how each room would look, envisioning beautiful destinations, but didn't really waste my brain cells on how it would look on the way into those rooms.

The day we moved in.

There are two hallways in this house. The front hallway leads to the downstairs, our room, and the guestroom {currently Gater's room}. The back hall leads to the outside, powder room, and laundry.  We've learned through living here for a few months that everyone to comes to this house uses this bathroom even though the master bath has a hallway entrance and we offer it as a guest bathroom.  I guess there's always the chance that you forget to lock both doors and someone might walk in on you.  Or maybe people feel they're invading our personal space.  Whatever the reason, this little hallway gets lots of traffic and I wanted it to be fun and a little unique.

After the trim was painted white and the wallpaper was covered with an oil based primer.  The doors were painted later.

Because of our pact to paint one room a month, I had some time to think on this one.  I decided to do horizontal stripes to make the space look wider.  I had done stripes once before, and swore never to do them again. 

This is the only picture I could find of our bathroom in Washington.  It was taken when Ella was a few months old.  There was a heavy texture on the walls and both sides of every. single. stripe. bled under the tape.

Well, never say never.

This time I was better informed and didn't try to rush through the steps.  It took some time and a bit of math and elbow grease, but I learned a bit about how to paint perfect stripes on your walls.  I did a lot of research and had a bit of trial and error and came up with this technique.

First, paint your base color.  This should be the lighter of your colors {or the flatter of your sheens if you're going that route}.  Let it fully cure {at least a week} before continuing.  I know it seems like a long time, but if you don't, when you pull up your tape you'll likely pull some of your base paint, too.

As for the stripes, here are a few tips.

1.  I think it's aesthetically the most pleasing to paint an odd number.  Our ceilings are nine feet tall, so I made each stripe twelve inches wide.  If you're following my math, that means I only needed to paint four stripes since five of them were already painted in my base color.

2.  Don't consider your mouldings.  Measure from the floor to the ceiling and divide by the number of stripes you want.  Our baseboards are around five inches tall, so my first stripe needed to be seven inches to equal a twelve inch stripe.  Got it?  Otherwise your wall ends up looking like you messed up.

3.  As you can see above and below, I marked my lines with a pencil.  Do this all the way around, using a level to keep your lines straight.  Even with a level, I had a couple of lines I had to fix.  It was by far the most frustrating part of the process. 

4.  After marking all of your lines,  put an X or a piece of painter's tape on the stripes you are painting in your secondary color so that you don't get confused and tape or paint incorrectly.  You think you won't have a problem, but when you're that close, it gets really confusing!

Here comes the taping!  This was fun.  Simply follow your pencil lines, taping on the outside of the lines that have the X's {so that all of your pencil marks are covered up by the paint}.  If I were to do this again, I would have taped around my door frames, and I don't normally do that.  I was surprised how bad my door frames looked at the end and I still need to touch them up.

Okay.  Here's your magic step.  This is what keeps the darker color from bleeding under the tape.  Paint along the lines {on the side you're going to paint darker} in your base coat.  This seals the tape.  This step = perfect lines.

Let that dry.  Now you can finally start your second color.  Aren't you excited?

While your final coat is still wet, peel off your tape.  I can't tell you how good it feels to do this.  It's like when you were in elementary school and poured elmers all over your palm, and had to wait for it to dry, but then when it did, and you peeled very carefully, you got to have a perfect reproduction of your palm in glue!  It is that level of satisfaction. 
Come on.  You did it, too.
I love how the hallway turned out.  Oh, and if you were wondering, the lighter color is called Windfresh and the darker color is Fawn Brindle, both Sherwin Williams colors matched to Behr paint.

Above is the doorway to the back deck.  Below is the hallway to the half bathroom {left} and the laundry {ahead}. 
I started a collection of "L's" on the long wall.  I am making it a habit to check the clearance bins of any craft or home stores I shop just to check for more.  I've already added one since this picture was taken. 
This is the view from the kitchen. 
I tell you the truth - this was a lot of work.  But it was worth it to me.  I absolutely love how it turned out.  We also replaced the lighting - I'll share that soon.  The only thing left for this hallway are some hooks for backpacks and coats.  I don't want to use traditional hooks, so maybe something like this or this or this or this or this or this? *sigh* I am really all over the map!

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